During the 4th of July week, we decided to visit the folks in the North Eastern part of the United States and get a taste of New England. If you haven’t been to New England yet, it’s time to go! Breathtaking scenery, culture, and obviously history. It’s also blessed with all seasons of the year. New England has some of the best experiences America has to offer. Here are some of our favorite things to do in New England:
1. Funky Rock Art- Driving up from New Hampshire to Portland we stopped in the lovely seaside town of Kennebunkport, Maine. The town has scenic beaches and breakwater rocks that you can stand on for a closer look at boats in the harbor. You can drive along the edge of the water for breathtaking views. We also walked along the banks to view mansions and the summer home of our former president, George H. W. Bush. Around the rocky areas of the coast, we noticed people leaving well-stacked art designs for others to enjoy. We also left a design of our own.
2. Portland Head Lighthouse- I know it’s weird to say this was our highlight of Portland with such great food and beer in the city but it really was the highlight. This is a historic lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, as well as the oldest in Maine. Located on over 90 acres of recreational space, we enjoyed walking the cliffside loop exploring the rocky beach. This is the most photographed lighthouse in America so don’t forget your camera! Also a lovely place for watching sailboats go by and enjoy a New England Treasure.
3. Salem Witch Museum- Everyone knows that Salem, Massachusetts is home to one of the worst injustices of the legal system with the Salem Witch Trials. The Salem Witch Trials are brought to life through 13 stage sets at the Salem Witch Museum featuring life-size figures and narration describing the 1692 hysteria. The second part of the tour is a guided walk through the museum that explains the history of witchcraft, modern practices, and stereotypes for a true understanding of witchcraft through the ages. Another fun thing about the city of Salem is exploring the filming locations of several movies, including an all-time favorite “Hocus Pocus’ a Disney Movie pictured below in white. One of the original Historical homes of the Salem Witch Trials is a few doors down in black. Also, how cool is the “I Dream of Jeanie” Statue?
4. Visit Ivy League Colleges- These colleges are known for their academic rigor, rich history, and long-standing traditions. We loved visiting Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Brown, and MIT to get a taste of their culture and explore their beautiful grounds and architecture. Photo is in front of The Harvard Lampoon Building and the other is Yale from The Study Hotel. Staying in the Study hotel we were overlooking Yale’s old campus. Over 350 years ago this was our ancestor’s homestead. The many times Great Grandfather of our publisher donated his farmland just below for the original campus. On June 4, 1639, a young man named William Tuttle signed the church covenant document that established New Haven Colony.
5. Mansion Row- If you love The Biltmore in Asheville you are going to love Newport, Rhode Island. The mansions of Newport were built as summer homes for wealthy tycoons in the 1850’s to the 1990s and are simply breathtaking. If you love history and historical architecture, tours of these mansions should not be missed.
6. Plymouth Rock & Lexington and Concord- Everyone wants to see Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts. We visited New England’s most visited rock (which is most likely not the actual rock)! This famous landmark is the spot where the Pilgrims landed in 1620 to found Plymouth, Massachusetts. Gazing upon the rock will connect you with the Pilgrim story in a way that no textbook can! Not to mention the road it sits on is lined with cute shops and drinking/eating establishments facing the harbor. We also add Lexington and Concord to this because we only have room for 10. That said, this is going with the US History buff must visits. Following the trail of Paul Revere and seeing the spot where The Shot Heard Around the World took place was our favorite part. The actual Boston sites were fine but we enjoyed Lexington and Concord more and it seemed to be less crowded so you could enjoy the experience and learn more about the events at these locations.
7. Ice Cream in Vermont- Visit Ben and Jerry’s factory tour in Waterbury, Vermont and enjoy a uniquely American company. We took a guided factory tour to see what it takes for our favorite flavors to come to fruition. We were able to taste new flavors the staff was working on. You can also mourn the loss of discontinued flavors in their flavor graveyard right next to the factory parking lot. A truly delicious experience! Pro-Tip: Get the Maple Flavored ice cream that is available only at the Waterbury location.
8. The Vermont Country Store- Step back in time when you visit this general store that opened in 1946. The Vermont Country Store takes pride in selling merchandise that is durable and practical as well as food items that are delicious and timeless. We bought our fair share of Vermont maple syrup while visiting. This store also has a mail-order catalog that has a cult following. We have ordered several things, ourselves, since returning home. It’s just that good!
10. Heartthrob Tour- Get a sidewalk lesson in pop history! New Kids On the Block fans can get a peek of Danny Wood’s childhood home, Jonathan and Jordan Knight’s childhood home, and Donnie Wahlberg’s apartment! You can even go by the NKOTB favorite hangout, Hi-Fi Pizza! And don’t forget to get your picture in front of the recording studio of Aerosmith! Thank you, Boston, for some of my favorite music!